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Lincoln student ‘stuck in limbo’ as ‘lost’ grades upset university plans

A prospective university student from Lincolnshire was left ‘in limbo’ after his grades were ‘lost,’ potentially impacting his chances of getting a university placement in time. Student Adam Scott, 20, spent the past three years working hard at Lincoln College towards a Level 3 certificate in Photography.

He was awarded a ‘merit,’ which is the grade he needed, and was all set for his four-year course at Sheffield Hallam University. But when he went to collect his results on August 17, he says he was told they had been ‘lost’ due to an administrative error.

He said he kept pursuing the college and the University of the Arts London (UAL), which handles the certificate process, but felt like he was ‘getting nowhere’. Though the issue has now been resolved, he said it made him feel as though he didn’t exist – on top of bouts of stress and anxiety.

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The 20-year-old said at the time: “It feels like I’ve just wasted three years of my life, working very hard to get the grade I want, just to find out I can’t go to uni. It’s not my fault I’m in this scenario – but at the same time, I feel like I’m being blamed for it.

“I’ve already paid out more than £1,000 for my accommodation. We’re not a well-off family and that is a lot of money.

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to get that back. I’m in limbo. I’ve been trapped in something and I can’t get out of it.”

With the nominal deadline of September 6 approaching, Mr Scott said he felt as though he was being ‘forced into a gap year’. However, a spokesperson for Sheffield Hallam said the university did not hold applicants to that deadline, which was set by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

She said they would be as ‘flexible as possible’ as the delay was ‘obviously’ not Mr Scott’s fault. She added the university had confirmed with Lincoln College there had been a ‘clerical error’ in submitting his results and that had caused the delay.

But while it was frustrating for Mr Scott, the spokesperson for UAL said that once August 17 has been and gone, the only way to release grades is through the appeals system. He said: “Where results were not received by this deadline and in time for release on the national results day of August 17, they are confirmed via appeal from August 17 until September 16.

“This is the only permitted process by which we can award results after the national results day.” He said that the appeals panel had convened on Friday, September 1 to ‘make a recommendation’ about Mr Scott’s grades and informed the team at Lincoln College of their decision on Monday.

However, he could not say any more due to a need for confidentiality surrounding students’ grades. After 18 agonising days, Mr Scott’s grades were finally confirmed that afternoon.

The team at UCAS sent him a follow-up email early Tuesday letting him know his place at Hallam had been secured. But while it’s a tremendous relief, he said his experience was proof of a flawed system.

He said: “It was terribly slow, but everything is alright now – thankfully. There seem to be a lot of flaws in the way things are done.

“This must happen every year: one student just falls through the cracks.” Lincoln College was contacted for comment but did not respond in time for publication.

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